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Late Sir Rabbie Namaliu was known as one of Papua New Guinea’s Independence heroes. His passing is not only a loss for East New Britain Province but is devastating for PNG as a whole.

In a statement, New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan expressed his deep sadness and sorrow after hearing about the passing of former Prime Minister and a close friend of his, late Sir Rabbie Namaliu on Friday 31st March.

He described Sir Rabbie as a one-of-a-kind Papua New Guinean amongst other distinguished Tolai’s of his time including Oscar Tammur Snr, Sir Paulias Matane, Sam Piniau, and the living giant Dr Alan Marat and Sir John Kaputin.

“He was a very cool, calm and collected leader, and naturally classed as a true gentleman by anyone who had the good fortune of meeting him,” said Sir Julius.

He had received news of his friend’s passing while in Brisbane for medical check-up.

He said, Sir Rabbie was a distinguished academic in the field of History, a top public servant who ran the public sector in the years after Independence. He was first elected into Parliament as member for Kokopo Open in 1982. He served as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, from 1982-84 and held several other senior ministries including Primary Industry, and Petroleum and Energy before being elected Prime Minister from 1988 to 1992. He served briefly as Leader of the Opposition in 1988 before becoming Prime Minister between 1988 -1992 and Speaker of the National Parliament between 1994 -1997.

“He became PM at the country’s most challenging period, during the beginning of the Bougainville crisis.”

Sir Julius said, many will remember Sir Rabbie as a natural born diplomat his role as Foreign Affairs & Immigration Minister from August 2002 to July 2006 easily suited him. He was also Minister for Treasury from July 2006 to August 2007.

“He was a very warm, intelligent and committed Papua New Guinean and he easily gained the confidence of society at large, stated Sir Julius.

 He was President of the ACP Council of Ministers and Co-President of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers. He also chaired the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Committee on the amalgamation of the Forum and Pacific Community. And served on a number of boards in the fields of government, academia, business, agriculture, and art and culture. He was also Chancellor of the PNG University of Natural Resources and Environment, based at Vudal in East New Britain Province from August 2007 to February 2011.

Sir Julius said New Ireland was honoured to have Sir Rabbie as one of its high-profile delegates to the Grand Opening of the New Ireland Legislative Assembly in 2020, alongside late founding Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare. He was also a guest during the grand opening of the Kavieng Government official Residence in 2018 amongst other former Prime Minister’s including Pius Wingti and Peter O’Neil.

Sir Julius on behalf of his family and the people of New Ireland conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the immediate family of late Sir Rabbie.

“We have lost one of our finest. I know no words can truly take away the pain that you are feeling at this moment, but God has a reason for everything and I hope you will find comfort in the knowledge that your beloved, served with great passion, kindness and humility. And was truly loved by many.”

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